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S-04 vs Nottingham vs S-05 for porter

Making a Edmond Fitzgerald Clone this weekend and don’t really want to make a starter. Recipe calls for London Ale Yeast. Which of the three (S-04, Nottingham, S-05) are the closest to that flavor profile?

I would use Nottingham over the other two. US-05 as a second choice.

I had an oatmeal stout recently that a friend brewed with S-04 and was quite surprised. Every time I had brewed with that yeast, it sucked. But had never brewed a dark beer with it. I’d brew an oatmeal stout with it. The roast must’ve covered up the gross, bready/fruity thing that yeast produces.

My first thought was Nottingham but thought s-05 might produce too much fruity from the hops. I’ve used S-04 in many previous batches and rarely had a horrible result.


I don’t like S-04. Never had an S-04 beer that I really liked.

Either of the other two will work great. If you use Nottingham, just makes sure it begins fermentation within 24 hour. If not, pitch some US-05 because I know there’s been a lot of quality issues with the Nottingham packets over the years for some reason. When Nottingham works, it works very well and I love it. But sometimes… it’s dead or it takes 3-4 days to begin fermentation, which is NOT okay, so you need to just watch out for that. So I suppose in other words… US-05 is your best bet, and you’ll want to have a pack on hand for emergencies just in case anyway.

With either Nottingham or US-05, you’ll want to ferment very cool at around 62-63 F if you can manage it. It will give cleaner less estery flavors.

I’d go with the S-04 if it’s calling for an English ale yeast. I haven’t had good luck with Nottingham myself. Honestly, S-05 will work fine as well. I use it for my house robust porter, but that brew is a bit more hop-forward and I prefer a neutral strain in it.

Dmtaylo2, I saw your old post here about your dislike for s-04. Im curious what specifically you don’t like about it. I used it recently for a brown ale and I’m not crazy about the result. I can’t really put my finger on what it is, but it gives a kind of heavy aftertaste. Thanks.

ChrisR, I too have difficulty putting my finger on it exactly, but I will try. I tried S-04 again a few months ago for a Scottish ale, thinking maybe I was missing out on something good, but it’s just very very… “English”… for lack of a better word. It’s got a lot of earthy, muddy character and also non-descript fruity ester character, but in my opinion it is WAY TOO MUCH “English” for me to enjoy. Perhaps it is the mud character that throws me off the most, kind of gross. Hence, for me, of the 3 gallons I had bottled, I still have at least 24 bottles of it left in the cellar, i.e., I don’t like it. Eventually I’ll drink some more of it, but saving for times when I’m super thirsty or drunk and just don’t care what my beer tastes like. I’ve had far better success from the actual Scottish yeasts WLP028 & 1728, and from other liquid English yeasts like WLP002, WLP007, WLP013, 1318, etc. I don’t mind Munton’s ale yeast in a stout, but it produces even more fruit than S-04, but less earth.

That’s been some of my experience over the past few years. Keep on experimenting. I don’t want to discourage anyone from experimenting, that is how I learn and that is how we all learn. We all have different likes and dislikes as well, so you never know when you’ll be surprised.


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